Friday, August 15, 2014

WHO ARE WE?

     From the day Mr. Whiskers arrived at Beech Croft in December 2003, the tussle was on. He was six weeks old. I listened to every suggestion from veteran cat owners. "Be firm. Show him who's boss. Use a spray bottle. Slap your hand with a newspaper." The behaviour modification tactics he used on me were more effective than anything I tried on him. He did learn to stay off tables and counters in spite of his natural inclination to climb, but there were other concerns.

     I questioned a clerk in a pet shop. She had been struggling to train an Arabian horse. A workshop instructor gave her the key. "Treat him like royalty and he will do anything you ask - like a ginger cat." This clerk knew about ginger cats and especially male ones. "Keep that in mind. He'll come around."

     We did come to terms. I kept the designation, royalty, in mind as our relationship jelled. I learned to wait when I opened the door to let him out until he had enough time to check the yard for any other living thing. I learned to wait when I opened the door to let him in if he needed to investigate something he noticed on his way up the sidewalk. A certain squeak as he paused by the leg of the kitchen table meant he needed a tiny bit of butter to get him through until supper... and so on.

     He is a king. If you told him he has no right to help himself to the food in the cats' dish at our Queen St. neighbours, you'd never convince him. He's sure the soft cushions on the next door neighbour's deck chairs are there for him. Mr. Whiskers lives according to what he believes about himself.

     How about us? 1 Peter 2:9 identifies believers in Christ as a royal priesthood. We're joint heirs with Him (Romans 8:17). We're more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). All that the Lord Jesus obtained by His death, burial and resurrection is ours. May the truth of who we are in Him be so real to us that our lives can't help but show it.
 

Friday, August 1, 2014

FIRE POWER

     How can solid wood exist and then not exist? Fire is an amazing phenomenon. Regardless of science explaining the chemical combination of oxygen with a substance creating gas, think about a tangible object disappearing before your eyes.

     An ice storm last December broke cazillions of tree branches. The town crew got rid of the biggies for us, but there were still oodles of smaller ones to gather. Those and the normal accumulation since December produced one large burn pile by the fire pit. After the days turned warm enough to induce me to tackle the job of eliminating that stack, I still needed hours with no laundry on the neighbours' clotheslines. Smoke wafting over a line of clean clothes does not make for friendly relations. Enough excuses came along to let me procrastinate until a few days ago. The sticks are gone.

     Hebrews 12:29 describes our God as a consuming fire. The prophet, Malachi, speaks of a fire that refines and consumes impurities. (Malachi 3:2-3) As silver is purified, what is not of Him within us can be removed. What a blessing! Freedom from anything that works against our enjoying the abundant life Christ came to give us can only be a plus.

     Fire consumed the branches that had littered the lawn. A small pile of ashes remains. In Isaiah's wonderful list of all the good things that accompany the Lord's anointing, He even promises beauty for those ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) They may supply precious nutrients for growing things in our natural garden. Perhaps there is a parallel benefit resulting from God's fire in our spirits. What remains after the purifying work within may well sweeten and mature us enhancing our own lives and the lives of those around us. Fire power indeed!